I’ll never forget her face.
I couldn’t stop staring at her while she spoke to me.
Black hair–wavy with silver strands shining as she tilted her head in the light — framed the heart shaped face. Her eyes sparkled, only slightly crinkled at the edges, displaying years of laughter and warmth. There were a few more such lines highlighting the rounded apples of her cheeks (ever so slightly flushed) as she answered questions. Gently. Meekly.
But she was stunning, not for the Greek standards of perfect symmetry and proportion, not for any skill with eye shadow or contour. In fact, she wore no make up. Despite this, she glowed.
Her skin was flawless. There were wrinkles, yes, signs of her near half century of life. But of blemishes? None.
The tone of her face was absolutely perfect. No dark circles, no patches, no clogged pores or even a freckle. Smooth, healthy. Full of life.
I didn’t want to be rude, so while she disappeared to the back of her store helping another customer, I quietly I asked her daughter, “Does your mom wear any makeup?” I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but the perfection of her skin had me wanting in on the secret.
She smiled knowingly, glancing at her mother still busy searching for an item. “No,” she said, “why?”
I couldn’t help myself, “Her skin is… beautiful. How does she do that?”
That knowing smile, as though there were an inside joke, never left her face. “You’ll have to ask her,” she said.
Now, I really couldn’t let this go. I was, after all, in a health store. Full of essential oils, supplements, and even raw cow’s milk. If she had the magic salve, I wanted it.
I waited. Trying not to stare, trying still not to be rude.
Finally, the other customers had left, with only mother and daughter remaining.
“How do you keep your face so perfect?” I blurted, feeling the warmth of blush as I realized what an odd question this was. Her embarrassment reflected mine, but curiosity outweighed any amount of dignity I cared to maintain.
I waited, expectantly.
She glanced at her daughter questioningly. Her daughter nodded with a small flick of her hands. Go on, she seemed to say, that coy smile back in place.
“Well,” she said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, buying time, eyes downcast to the floor. What could be so strange to warrant so much shifty behavior? Was it surgery? Some kind of translucent powder? Good genes?
She moved her eyes up suddenly, locking with mine, and I could see the resolution there to overcome any fear of my opinion.
“My Heavenly Father healed me.”
She said it quietly. Not with any hint of embarrassment or shame, but almost a dare to challenge her statement.
.I felt the truth of her words as soon as she spoke them and felt my face grow warm again. I was overcome. This time, not with shame, but with the first sign of coming tears.
She began telling me of a disease she had for nearly all her adult life. Her skin had been dry and cracked, nearly always open and bleeding in places. She told me of how she wore scarves to cover her neck and kept her face down to avoid being noticed. She spoke of the pain, both physically from the sores and mentally of feeling shunned and rejected.
“But I’m healed,” she said.
And she was. This was not a face of someone with constant open wounds, of someone who had scratched and bled. This was a face made new. A face made whole.
I thanked her for her bravery and her gift to me of inspiration, and left. Climbing into the car with the friend who had brought me to this store, I asked for confirmation of the miracle. She had grown up knowing the woman.
“Did she really live all that time with those sores?”
“Isn’t it amazing?” My friend asked.
“Yes,” I said.
And it was.